We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Schwartz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelsey, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After being in the piercing industry for 5 years, I knew opening my own studio would eventually become my goal. The shop I had been with was expanding and I thought that would be my opportunity to become an investment partner, but they wanted to keep everything within their family. I had to respect that, but also knew I would need to do what was best for my family. My husband, Thomas, and I wanted to start building the foundations of a company that could be left to our children.

The piercing and tattoo industries are beginning to separate, and people are realizing just because you tattoo does not mean you know how to pierce and vice versa. Parents are quickly learning that piercing guns are extremely outdated and unsafe, but can still feel hesitant about going into a shop. I wanted to provide a safe comfortable space that is family friendly and provides the best jewelry and care for our clients.

I thought I would take a few years to plan and save money before beginning our own studio, but in 2021 our extended family had a very tragic year with multiple deaths resulting in some big shifts in our household dynamic and outlook on life. We ended up with an “if not now, when” mentality and dove in head first to establish Studio Wren Fine Jewelry and Piercing.

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Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I thought for many years maternity care was my calling; I was a birth center manager, childbirth educator, and doula. I even began my prerequisites to become a nurse midwife. My second child had a very traumatic birth and it was a miracle he survived. It left me with a fear of the work I had come to love though, and I quit the medical field without a set plan for the future.

My husband asked what I wanted to do with my life and for some reason I replied, “How do you become a piercer?”
I had always been fascinated with body piercing, but never considered it as a career.

I soon found a tattoo shop that needed a receptionist and took that to get my foot in the door within the industry.
I had an extremely inadequate apprenticeship (as so many in the industry do) and learned a lot about the type of mentor I do not want to be in the future.

I was lucky to find a second mentor that helped fill in the gaps that had been left in my training. Over the next 4 years I learned the importance of connecting with other piercers, that there are multiple ways to get successful results, and that the industry is always changing so continuing education is crucial.

When I decided to start my own studio, we were hit with zoning and licensing issues (after being told we would be ok in our location), city ordinance changes, having to fight and win a copyright infringement battle, and more complications too detailed to list.
I knew owning a business wouldn’t be easy, but these were NOT the types of problems I expected in the first few months of operation.

Through this past year, my husband’s belief in me as a piercer, and my belief that I have something different to offer to this industry has kept us going.

It has been a test in patience, resilience, and trust.

We are proud to offer the best body safe jewelry from APP compliant brands. We specialize in implant grade titanium and 14k gold jewelry with over 100 options to choose from.

My clientele that has stuck with me through all the location changes and different phases of my career are a big motivation and assurance that I’m doing something right.

I love to educate clients on proper piercing aftercare, troubleshoot problem piercings no matter where the client originally had them done, and provide excellent customer service. I put client safety above all else and take everyone’s unique anatomy into consideration for piercing placement, jewelry options, and care suggestions.

As of last year, I am proud to have attended the annual Association of Professional Piercers Conference. I plan to continue attending and learning from the top industry experts each summer.

Our ultimate goal at Studio Wren is to have a few locations including a piercing only store front that will also serve as an education center for piercers to come shadow and new piercers to apprentice.

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If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Visiting with friends definitely equals lots of eating. Origin Kitchen and Bar, Whiskey Cake, and Mexigo have been some long standing favorites of mine.

My family can make a day of wandering around Grapevine, especially if there’s any special events going on at the Gaylord Hotel.

Strolling and shopping the McKinney Square. We were recently there to attend a Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by Keith and Margo’s Murder Mystery Texas, it was such a unique and fun experience.

We would try to make it out for some live music preferably at a smaller venue like South Side Ballroom. Nothing beats getting to see an artist you love before they make it too big and move to stadium venues.

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Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thank you to my husband, Thomas, my children, Olivia and Jonathan, and my parents for believing I was capable of success in this unique field of business. To all the piercers who have become friends and trusted referral partners, I couldn’t do this without you. To the crew at Anomaly Tattoo, thank you for giving Studio Wren a place to call home.

Website: https://studiowrenpiercing.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/studiowrenpiercing

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StudioWrenPiercing

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Image Credits
Studio Wren
Audrey McCroskey Photography
John Balk Photography

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